United States President Joe Biden has announced major plans towards decriminalizing marijuana in the US as he pardoned all prior federal offences of simple marijuana possession on Thursday.
Biden’s decision to decriminalize marijuana and pardon offenders is estimated to impact thousands of Americans who are charged with the offence.
“No one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana… It’s legal in many states, and criminal records for marijuana possession have led to needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And that’s before you address the racial disparities around who suffers the consequences. While white and black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, black and brown people are arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates,” he stated.
He added, “Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.”
During the announcement, Biden also encouraged governors to take similar steps to pardon state simple marijuana possession charges.
In addition, Biden said he will task the Department of Health and Human Services and Attorney General Merrick Garland to “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law, which would ease the federal classification for the drug which presently is in the same category as heroin and LSD.